Out of the various types of tea, more disinformation probably exists about black tea than the other major types. One example of such disinformation is the mistaken belief that black tea has higher caffeine content than the “less black” types, such as green tea. In fact, scientific research generally shows us that it is GREEN tea which has a higher caffeine content :
A major reason why this seems to be counter-intuitive is because the effects of caffeine in green tea are counteracted by the calming biochemical effects of the phytochemical L-Theanine (found in high concentrations in green tea). The combination of caffeine and L-Theanine in green tea produce the psychoactive effect of calmness while simultaneously increasing overall energy levels in the body, and having positive effects on mood and cognition :
Despite the less substantial effects of caffeine in black tea, the most potent – and medicinal – compounds contained in this type of tea are numerous powerful flavonoids which have a significant healing effect on the inflammation process in the body. As scientific research is increasingly showing inflammation to be at the core of most disease processes, the therapeutic effects of black tea are becoming more and more obvious :
This ultimately segues perfectly into a discussion on the therapeutic effects of black tea consumption on depression. Research in neuroscience – as well as the newer discipline known as “psychoneuroimmunology” – is increasingly showing a strong link between inflammation and depression. In fact, some serious researchers are going so far as to say that depression is one of the body’s main RESPONSE mechanisms to inflammation :
Another major way in which black tea helps alleviate inflammation in the system is through its positive effects on the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Normally, cortisol acts as a SUPPRESSOR of inflammation in the body. However, when cortisol is released chronically, and in high amounts, it begins to have the OPPOSITE effect, as “runaway inflammation” begins to have DAMAGING physiological effects, instead of the more protective ones:
One of the ways that black tea helps alleviate inflammation is by lowering the intensity and longevity of cortisol release into the system. Studies have shown that people who drink black tea release less cortisol, and for shorter amounts of time, than those who drink less, or no, black tea :
This ultimately means that consuming black tea in healthy quantities on a regular (daily) basis can have a therapeutic effect on minimizing the systemic inflammation which contributes to the varies types of depression. This is IN ADDITION to the anti-inflammatory effects of ALL teas on diseases such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and various other disorders which have inflammation at their core..
Just be aware that not all black teas are the same, and it is surely best to educate yourself on the different types and qualities of black teas from people who are highly knowledgeable on the subject of tea. Here is an excellent video describing the history and characteristics of some of the highest quality black teas from China their original source in China :